Nearly everyone has experienced knee pain. Whether it's caused by arthritis, excessive foot pronation or overuse of the muscles that protect this vulnerable joint, our knees take a knocking. In fact, knee arthritis is the single greatest cause of chronic disability among U.S. adults age 65 and older.
Here's the good news: Most chronic knee pain is avoidable. New research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that exercise and physical therapy are just as effective as surgery for relief from chronic knee pain related to arthritis.
Learning to strengthen and stretch key muscles that support the knees, and other ways to protect and take care of our knees, can ultimately prolong the health of this vital body part.
To relieve and prevent knee pain and its causes, try these recommendations from physical therapist Chantal Donnelly, a faculty member for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Mount Saint Mary's College, a certified Pilates instructor in L.A., and author of the
Strong Knees therapeutic exercise DVD
1. Strengthen your butt
We know from research that knee injuries, including common Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears, can occur when large hip muscles are weak. ACL tears, which are eight times more likely in women athletes, have been shown to lead to other cartilage tears and to correlate with knee arthritis later in life.